Bowing out for 2014

December 23, 2014

It’s Christmas time, there’s no need to be afraid. At Christmas time we banish light and let in shade.

Bankstone News’ preferred method of so doing is to seek out the deepest and darkest recesses of local hostelry the Badger Baiters Arms, there to remain for as long as we are able, emerging only briefly to fetch a fresh foaming pint of Old Todger with a side order of pork scratchings, or to syphon, if you’ll pardon a potential surfeit of incidental detail, the proverbial python.

Yes, that’s where you will find us (just as soon as we’ve finished hammering out these last few lines on our trusty Typemaster DTP console) from now until some time early(ish) in the new year. So you needn’t expect to hear from us again this side of 2015.

In the meantime, we will leave you will a couple of memorable images from the lavish Christmas party laid on by our sponsors, those highly regarded Professional Handlers of Clams Bankstone Limited. This was an occasion at which, contrary to the lyrical suggestion with which we opened this brief article, there were multiple reasons for being afraid, being, indeed, as they say, very afraid.

The second of these images, depicting Bankstone director Dictaphone Titleist and a friend, comes complete with another of those picture caption competitions you love so well.

Suggestions already in from Bankstone staff, we are sorry to say, include “Under Stacy’s close scrutiny, Mr T struggles to comply with the ‘hands above the table’ directive” and “Startled, but not altogether dismayed, Tysoe begins to suspect, but dare not say aloud, that his earlier offer of sharing his sausage may have been misconstrued.”

Bankstone News suspects you can do better, and we still have that cheese carving to shift (see previous competitions), so answers please to

Not that we’ll be able to read anything (in the strictest of literal senses) between now and the new year.

Have a good one. And don’t forget to tell your friends about Bankstone News!

Or they might end up reading it by accident or something.




December 23, 2014

Say what you like about pint-sized, formerly pompadoured soccerist Raheem Sterling, but this young man certainly has talent.

He may caper about like a hind-legged lemur crossing open ground, or a double spouted teapot on crazy jinking legs, but there’s no denying the boy has talent.

You might say he has a bit of an ego, detect an almost Sturridgean sense of self belief/entitlement, or observe that, with that piled-up afro-quiff thing, he looked like a Purple-Rain-era Prince or, more bluntly, like a preening perfumed ponce.

You might say any of these things, especially if the newly-shorn little chap wasn’t there in person to give you a surprisingly chilling Westside/JA Gangster stare, but the there’s no question about it: the lad has talent.

Twice previously escaping conviction following alleged altercations with lady friends, however, the proud winner of the 2014 Golden Boy of Europe award, has now pled guilty, at Wirral Magistrates Court in Behrkhenhed, to the heinous crime of keeping an Audi A3 without insurance.

No one seems to know exactly why he was keeping an A3. Not when he has a perfectly good Mercedes C 63 AMG with 6.2 litre V8. But apparently he was. Even if no one was accusing him of actually driving the uninsured compact executive hatchback.

With the threat of a maximum £1,000 fine equating to around 2% of the not-entirely-princely £70k weekly wage packet reputedly being dangled before him by current and prospective future employers Liverpuhl, Starling must have been quaking in his fancy orange knitted ankle-boots (or possibly the pair left behind by Luis ‘Pacman’ Suarez, the effort of filling which was said to have left Startling too tired to shine for England in Estonia).

Happily however, Stripling’s guilty plea cut the fine to a more manageable £600. Failure to file a SORN, however, is the kind of schoolboy error than which the just-turned-20-year-old should most certainly have known better.

Let’s just hope it doesn’t ruin his Christmas.



December 22, 2014

The purchase of Leeds-based insurance brokerage Beaumonts by J. Elf Insurance Pastorship is causing great excitement here Up North.

Elf boss Alec Solway claims that bunging Beaumonts and J. Elf together will create a kind of Northern Powerhose “stretching from Manchester to Hull.” En route, the newly fashioned powerhose takes in such diverse locations as Leeds, Bradford, Hoseforth, Donkster and Shrewsbury (Beaumonts), and Leeds, Hull, York and Madchester (J. Elf).

Whilst on the subject of hoses, pipes, tubes and suchlike, Solway insisted that J. Elf, whose ultimate ambition is to become the biggest and bestest insurance broker in the whole wide world, would have no trouble getting Beaumonts down its integration gullet, and that the firm’s acquisition pipeline is “healthy”. Or perhaps, if readers will excuse a seasonal pun, we should say Elfy!

Beaumonts will continue exactly as before, senior figures claimed, only with a new name, J. Elf Beaumont. The firm’s managing director Bland Simon claimed that the sale had been a kind of happy accident. “We were not looking to sell our business he said,” but when the B Boys got talking to the J Elfs it turned out the two crews had a great deal in common.

By an extraordinary coincidence, it seems both companies shared “the same focus on excellent client service and high professional standards.” More extraordinarily still, both harboured a burning desire to furnish their clients with “an exceptional range of high quality products and services”. Clearly it was a match made in heaven. Or in Yorkshire, let’s say, which amounts to much the same thing.

To cut a long story short, Gaumonts and Elf recognised almost immediately in one another the missing other half (front or back, depending on your point of view) of that long sought mythical beast, the insurance broking Northern Powerhorse. From there it was simply a matter of J. Elf borrowing shedloads of cash from Barclays and senior B Boys promising to hang around while they meet some deferred consideration targets, and, Robert is your parent’s sibling: the deal was sealed!

A big day in the North, without a doubt.

A day on which in future Northern Folk will look back saying: “Thus is was the Northern Poorhouse was wrought!”

Or something.



J. Elf and Beermats working seamlessly in tandem to deliver quality client service



December 21, 2014

All young people must have telematics. So claimed telematics firm ingenue this week, or sometime recently. Which, to paraphrase the late lamented Randy Mice Davies, is pretty much what they would say, wouldn’t they.

Ingenue have done some highly sophisticated statistical stuff to prove that, because they will otherwise insist on killing themselves in unacceptable numbers, the youth of today need to be telematicised PDQ.

Applying some deeply questionable logic, ingenue claim that because their customers (i.e. mild-mannered milksops who’ve chosen to undergo voluntary telematicisation) crash less often than those bold renegades to prefer to fly unmonitored, forcibly fitting all of the latter with spy technology will automatically reduce motor death among the young by 40%.

Black box kids crash within their first year in a mere one out of eight cases, compared, ingenue claim with, off-radar youth drivers who crash in a whopping one in five instances during their first year on the road.

It’s time to legislate, ingenue argue. Together with their “partner”, insurance firm Ages UK, ingenue want the government to exempt good children who telematicise themselves from the Insurance Pain Threshold (IPT) levy applied to anyone who insists on buying an insurance policy, not least a compulsory one like motor insurance. This, ingenue hope, will incentivise all those currently box-free to surrender to the data harvesters.

When ingenue and Ages recently cornered transport minister Robert Goodwill, the latter professed himself favourably disposed in principle to offer all appropriate support and assistance, assented to the almost entirely meaningless proposition that “telematics was delivering for young drivers” and said he’d look into it.

Perhaps a simple law banning unmonitored youth driving would be simpler.


December 16, 2014

Not so much a story really this week as a cleverly disguised pictorial invitation to self incrimination. Simply name aloud the items depicted below, and marvel as your colleagues come to see your character in a whole new light.








Some proper news next week.





December 16, 2014

Renegade regulator Dennis Wheatley and his trigger-happy gang have had their knuckles well and truly rapped by whoever it is who does to regulators what leatherette foxstress Susan Quatro did to cans.

Wheato is one of five senior FCA gang members named and shamed in a hard hitting report on the so-called Pensionpaybackprobegate affair commissioned from acclaimed report writer Simon Device, a partner with law firm Cliff of Chance.

The incident in question, readers will recall, arose when FCA reps told Telegraph reporters they were planning to require pension providers to compensate everyone they’d ripped off down the years, thereby inducing panic and dismay among investors and wiping ££££££££££s off big insurers’ share prices.

Wheato, who was in another part of the woods when the FCA enjoyed its provocative little flirtation with Robin Hoodism, has responded to the damning report (which brands his outfit ‘seriously inadequate’) by sacking his comms team and cancelling the Senior Staff Christmas Outing (and party bags) by way of atonement.

Regulated entities will be relieved at being relieved of the expense of the FCA’s yuletide jollies, though probably less thrilled at picking up to £3.8m tab for the Cliff of Chance report on how it really wasn’t really a very good idea to suggest that pensions firms might have to pay back all their ill-gotten gains.

Having had its youthful exuberance well and truly kicked out of it, the FCA can hopefully now get on, during the short time remaining prior to its inevitable ejection and replacement in 2018 or thereabouts, with ‘sharpening its focus’ on things that won’t upset the horses.


Naughty Wheato!

December 15, 2014

Having never previously seen the point of kitchen tables, Bankstone News is having a bit of a re-think.

Now, there’s not a lot of room for a table in the Bankstone News kitchen. What there is is mostly occupied by a half-dozen 5ft high cellophane wrapped pallet stacks of:

a) vintage 1980s Kestrel lager (a beer of which, perhaps oddly for a product named after a creature with a beak, rather than teeth, the admen used to claim “It bites”, although in ad-land, of course, cows are chaps and meerkats speak with Russian accents), and

b) bulk bought budget baked beans (in case of societal breakdown, broken leg, zombie apocalypse or whatever).

But it looks like we’ve been missing a trick, having this week learned that a humble kitchen table enabled employee, GioCompario founder, in demand DJ, and glamour model Hayley Parsnips to turn a few lousy quid into a multimillion fortune in less time than it took the world to forget that X Factor winners Steve Brookstein and Leon Jackson had ever existed.

Ms Parsnips (whom Bankstone News has always really admired and who would be more than welcome to drop round any time for a beer, some beans, and a friendly no-obligation chat about a very exciting business/charity investment opportunity we’d be willing to cut her in on), has this week reportedly netted the best part of £50m for her share of the Compario empire, for which insurance giant Esher recently swooped (something, incidentally, that a Kestrel can do).

Never let it be said that Bankstone News is afraid of hard work. We’re now dedicating our every waking hour (i.e. when we’re not writing this) to working our way through the lager and beans to clear space for a brand new ÄNGSÖ kitchen table, at which we’re planning to stare for as long as it takes inspiration to strike, breaking off only very occasionally to contemplate the poster of Ms Parsnips (pictured below) now gaffer-taped to the teabag-stained wall above the Belling for ‘inspirational’ purposes.

It’s blustery work, but we’re sticking at it.


Click to check availability

December 14, 2014

Worrying new research commissioned by nondescript French carmaker Citroën reveals that Brits find driving with their ‘significant others’ can be a bit stressful, specially when they are trying to park or something.

Attempting to park whilst a spouse or partner is present in the vehicle was reported as leading to dangerously elevated levels of stress, potentially resulting in violently recriminatory emotional outbursts, by 31% of males and 45% of females.

Whilst bringing a vehicle to a halt on a deserted airfield caused only moderate levels of stress, parallel parking was identified by 18 to 24 year olds as the most feared single element in the current driving test, with the test examiner standing in for the hypercritically hostile life partner.

Unveiling its dramatic new findings, the identity-crisis challenged motor manufacturer highlighted the chronic confidence deficit haunting Britiain’s partnered-up would-be parkers. One in four now describe themselves, the survey suggests, as lacking the confidence to park their car, while their partners describe them as lacking the skill, judgement, emotional commitment, work ethic, maturity, humility, and basic human decency to do so.

The one chink of positive news to emerge from the survey was that the presence of a mother in law in the vehicle was identified as a concern by just 3% of those questioned, suggesting that Mother in Law Fear (MILF) has declined dramatically since the dark days of the 1960s and 70s when burly middle aged men were so cowed by their partners’ mothers that they felt the need to congregate in darkened rooms, ripped to the tits on wishy washy warm beer, tittering nervously as the more fearless among them stood up to poke fun at the tyrannous matriarchs they dared not confront under their own roofs. Happily, MILF has been washed away by the benign and welcome tide of general and all encompassing contempt for age that has rid our nation of such archaic anxieties.

The disturbingly elevated levels of partner-induced anxiety revealed in this timely new research study, however, strongly suggest that, if we’re ever going to live in stable long term relationships, motor manufacturers had better equip us with self parking cars PDQish.

Bankstone News wonders whether Citroën might be working on something like that.


Yuletide bonus: Try the quiz for yourself!

The full list of options presented to survey respondents is not revealed in Citroën’s press materials, but Bankstone News imagines it must have read something like this:

Q23. Tick the relevant box to indicate how anxious each of the following makes you when parking your car (Where 5 represents very anxious indeed and 1 represents not particularly anxious at all):

the presence of a partner, spouse, or significant other in the vehicle
the presence of the partner, spouse or significant other’s mother
the presence of some kind of alien, like, you know, ET or something
the presence of a vicar, priest, imam, rabbit, or whatever
the presence of former minister of fun David Mellons
the presence of some kind of axe-wielding clown-faced psychopathic maniac
other (please specify)

Answers please to

December 9, 2014

Following the overwhelming response to the first instalment in our highly popular ‘name the insurance nose’ quiz, we here present Nose No. 2.

Given that nobody has correctly named the proud owner of Nose N.1 yet* we thought we’d give you some clues this time.

The geezer on the end of Nose No. 2 is someone who is very much in the news these days. He’s a big fan of Delia Smith, and his name sounds like that horrid little creature in The Hobbit.

Too easy? Go on then! Answers please to the editor. You’ve nothing to lose by entering and you might just scoop that exclusive cheese sculpture!

nose 2

* No, the owner of Nose No. 1 is not Roy Chubby Brown, nor Mrs Brown (of Boys fame), nor even Gordon Brown (texture like sun). Perhaps try guessing some names not ending in Brown, and you might be a bit closer. Think perhaps of a name that rhymes with thigh soap, and you could be almost there.

December 9, 2014

Juice Secretary Chris Greything certainly made an impression when he spoke at the recent ABI Motor Conference.

Commenting shortly after the event, ABI Deputy DG Huey Evans gave Greything’s words a warm welcome, saying simply “More needs to be done.”

The speech got off to a promising start, with the minister noting that the conference agenda looked “varied and engaging” and stressing that he hoped delegates had “had an interesting day so far.”


It quickly became clear, however, that Greything was not in town to bandy pleasantries. “I’m here,” he clarified, “to talk to you about the Government’s much needed reform programme to tackle fraudulent insurance claims.”

As applause, whoops and whistles in the hall slowly subsided, Greything promised his audience that the reforms will benefit “you as insurers” through reduced costs.

In fact, as he went on to explain, the reforms offer a true win-win-win-win-win scenario, with everyone benefitting, even claimant lawyers who will finally get to “concentrate on helping genuinely injured claimants”.


Quoting some statistics, Greything said they proved that “there is a problem, and that the system is crying out for reform.” At which, as if to underline his point, cries of “Reform! Reform!’ rang out around the auditorium.

He recalled how, at an emergency insurance summit summarily summoned by Prime Minister David K Moron in February 2012, the Government had committed itself to a commitment to slash PI costs.

He recalled also how the LASBO Act had “introduced some much needed balance to the system” and brought down premiums, and how HMG has set £179.99 as a ‘fixed cost’ for a medical report on the non-existent complaint whiplash.

Job done, you or I might think. But, no, Greything isn’t finished yet!


Intervening, like a concerned friend, he was keen to save insurers from the self-inflicted harm brought on by their own excessive benevolence. Specifically, he said he wanted to stop them forking out for whiplash claims without even asking for a medical report.

Uvavu, he noted pointedly “have successfully challenged over 200 claims this year.” So what, he wanted to know, is wrong with the rest of you? Invoking a well worn UK Baseball metaphor, he insisted that “the Government has done its bit” so now “it’s time for you to step up to the plate and do yours.”

He reminded delegates modestly of the Government’s quasi Solomonic sagacity in banning anyone offering medical reports from also offering whiplash treatment services, on the basis that those who stood to gain from offering so-called cures for a non-existent injury might be tempted to pretend that it was real in order to benefit financially from pretending to cure it.


Up next, he trailed, is War on Whiplash, the Second Tranche. This will see the introduction of a brand new independent porthole called MedCo through which medical report providers will be able to pass their reports at random, but through which conflicts of interest will not be able to pass. The MedCo porthole will be completely transparent, Greything assured delegates, and will ensure that there is a safe distance at all times between solicitors and medical experts.

“As well as this,” Greything trumped proudly, the Government is also going to make sure all the whiplash reports are up to scratch by accrediting all those who plan to write them. Anyone so planning, he said, will have to register with MexCo in January and then get a special certificate accrediting them as an officially licensed investigator into non-existent cranial conditions.

Once MedCow goes live on April Fool’s day, only MedCop whiplash reports will be recognised in court. Anyone else who feels they are qualified to comment on matters pertaining to dubious neck injuries after that date will officially be wrong.


But even that is not all! The Government is planning to make insurers and lawyers share all their data and require claimant lawyers to take a look at would-be PI claimants’ rap sheets before taking their cases on. Any insurers who don’t want to share their claims data are just going to have to, and that’s that.

Her Majesty’s Government, Greything exclusively revealed, plans to give the courts savage new punitive new powers to ensure that, if any part of a claim looks fraudulent (e.g. there was no iPad in the glove box), then the entire claim will be thrown out – with not a penny paid.

In reality, coincidentally, the chances of people having iPads in their glove boxes will be significantly diminished henceforth, as solicitors are to be banned from offering such devices, or indeed any other inducements, as rewards for those suddenly remembering a very painful neck injury following a ‘recent’ prang.


But Greything didn’t flinch from taking insurers to task for their sometimes lackadaisical attitude to being defrauded. “I expect you to continue to do your bit too,” he warned his insurer audience. He would not be best pleased, he hinted darkly, if he found that “there are practices of any those involved in the claims process (including insurers, lawyers, claims management companies and other intermediaries) which fail to deter insurance claims fraud.”

Conscious of the need to announce something new at this important conference, even if it’s just more talking or whatever, Greything closed on the revelation that he and Canceller of the Exchequer G. G. Osborne have invited Dave Hertzell, Commissioner of Laws, to chair a taskforce looking at the much needed issue of insurance fraud, with interim findings due next March.

Greything encouraged insurers to give Dave and his force their full backing in their discussion-based quest to root out bad behaviour and fraud-related costs once and for all.


With a nod and a wink, the Minister deadpanned: “we fully expect the industry to continue to meet the commitment made at the Prime Minister’s summit to pass on the savings from Government reforms to customers.”

And with that, to hearty laughter and applause, Greything quit the podium, making way for what he hoped would be “a timely and informative discussion of these important reforms” and leaving his audience (as theatrical best practice dictates, and as Huey Evans subsequently noted) very much wanting more.


Greything flinches as an
audience finger strays too close

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